Home of The Small Art Company and a bit of British all sorts about my family, kids, home, art, mixed media, craft, photography, illustration, travel, cooking, organisation, teaching... Good to see you:)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Random Photos Flowers and Postcards

Just a quick post with a couple of random photos.

I've been busy sorting through our wardrobe full of photo albums. Gosh, we have soooo many! I'm in the process of making a photo book you see. As most of us probably have, over the last 10 years or so, we've taken an unbelievable amount of digital photos. I was doing pretty well printing them all off and putting them in albums, but I haven't done any since Little W was about 6 months old. He's now 4 and we have a Toddler W too! So before they get any bigger I thought I'd better sort out the photos.

The first part of the book's going to be from 1995 - 2007, with just one photo of Mr W and I each year, maybe several of our wedding, as all these photos are printed out anyway. Then most of the photos I need to print are since 2007, so that's what the rest of the book will be.

I thought it was be so much easier to create a photo book than print them all out, cut them, put them in albums... I'm using Blurb, which so far, I'm finding fantastic. So easy to use and to see if you've got any errors. I shall let you know the final outcome once it's all finished.

The other reason I'm sorting through old photos is to find some images for my new polymer clay projects. That tutorial I mentioned will be coming very soon...

So anyway, here are two completely unrelated photos that I came across this morning. The first are some flowers I took in Banff, Canada in September 2001 and the other shows two of my postcards for sale on Oxford Street, London. Mine are the ones in the middle with 'London' written across them.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Handmade Scotland Challenge on Folksy

There's been a challenge on Folksy this month. In celebration of Burns' Night (yesterday!), the theme was Scotland.

It's been so interesting to see all the different ideas people have come up with. I can honestly say I love everything!

I'm not able to showcase all the items here, so I got Little W to help me choose. I asked him to pick a page number, which related to the pages in the challenge's thread in the forum, then once on the page I pressed the up and down buttons and Little W shouted "stop!" Whichever item was then in view was chosen! Now, how scientific is that?! Little W did say it was fun too, so that's good.

I chose to make an ACEO with a photo of a Scottish beach. This is in keeping with one of my new ranges of polymer clay items (tutorial coming shortly):

Scotty the Van of Love pin cushion from Maisy Lee Designs:

Royal Stewart Tartan Elizabeth handbag from Handmade by Edwina:

Highland cow needle book from NOfkants Curios:

Tweed-style handbag from Handbags by Helen:

You can see all the entries here, on my Pinterest board. Please let me know if I've missed any!

I'm hoping to have a go at February's challenge, but we'll see how time goes...

Friday, January 20, 2012

London Commuting and Stress!

I was thinking on my way to work the other day, that half the stress of work is the commuting and everything that entails. When I was at university and for 10 years afterwards, I was on the train and Tube every day. First of all, you have to make sure you leave the house on time so you don't miss your train, then you wonder if you'll actually be able to squeeze on, then if you'll be able to get off again. And of course, then you have to do it all again to get home.

However, this week I've been working just around the corner from my house. Apart from 9 months in the aforementioned 13 years, I've never been able to walk to work. It was then I realised that if you take the commute out of your working day, stress levels are greatly reduced.

I felt so relaxed on my way to work. Well, I did the first day. Yesterday wasn't so stress-free. Long story, but it involved Little W who needed to get to Nursery, Toddler W who needed to be looked after, my mum, a broken windscreen wiper, pouring rain, the AA, our next-door neighbour and another family member..! And to top it all, I had to teach a, let's say... challenging, Year 4 class.

Ah well, at least I didn't have to face the Tube at the end of the day!

Thought I'd reminisce about my City and West End days with this pic of the Thames:

I do miss the posh restaurants with colleagues, popping in Selfridges at lunchtimes, the bars and theatres after work, the window displays at Christmas... But that was a period in my life that's finished now. Although I loved it at the time, I certainly wouldn't want to be doing it now I have children. OK, I suppose I could do with the odd posh restaurant or theatre trip!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Interview with The Cheshire Cat

It     It's been a while since I did an interview, so I thought I'd interview my cousin about her shop, The Cheshire Cat. I still found out a few things I didn't know:)

1    1) OK, first things first, please tell me about yourself.
      My name is Sarah Smith, I live in Northampton but originally from Solihull. I work as an administrator and a Holistic therapist, specialising in aromatherapy, inbetween this I have developed my love of crafts into something I can share with others.

2    2)   What crafts do you sell?
I      I sell a variety of crafts focusing on jewellery, handpainted glass jars and hair accessories.

3    3)   Whereabouts do you sell and what would you say is your best venue?
      Folksy has been the best selling venue for me, that may be because I have spent more time on it and I only joined Etsy last year.
      4) Something all creative people like to know – where do you get your inspiration from?
      Some of my biggest inspirations come from literature. I love reading and there are some really inspirational quotes and stories that paint a wonderful image which I take a theme/idea and try to put into my crafts, it can be simple themes such as love or I like to take on the concept of the story and create themed items such as Alice in Wonderland or fantasy stories such as my Narnia and Lord of the Rings charm bracelets.

       I also love history, some of my items are inspired by vintage styles and I upcycle items,      whether it's original vintage beads or simply giving new life to glass jars by handpainting with nature designs.

       5) Do you have a dedicated workspace, or are you like me and squeezed into a corner of the living room?
      My 'craft space' is the living room. I decide what I'm making, get my equipment from the cupboard or wardrobe and then create. I don't like a lot of clutter, but when I craft I have all sorts going on so I store bits under the coffee table until I'm done, then pack away and get the next craft out!!
      6) What crafty thing would you like to try next?   
      I'm attempting some new crafts this year including trinket boxes:

I      I also want to create more vintage items, I often use vintage beads in my jewellery but I also hope to create some hand sewen items with vintage fabrics, as well as trying some felting.

       7) Any fab crafty websites or blogs you’d like to share?
I          I do like Kirstie's Homemade Home...
          You can follow my blog here and my Facebook page here.

     8) On to other non-crafty things... Where is your favourite place in the world and where would you love to visit?
There's a few places I'd love to go... Hawaii - it's not just the beautiful beaches, but I'd love to see where Lost was filmed.
Canada - opposite end, try a wintery themed holiday with a log cabin and log fire, also some of ancestors lived there for a while I could visit places they did too.
China - for the real cultural experience and the beautiful history

9) What’s your favourite season and why?
Spring, moving into summer, hopefully the weather is warm enough for us to get outside and see nature coming to life.

10) Is there anything that you’re secretly expert at?
I have a passion for history, in particular family history...although I have hit a few brick walls, I had two articles printed in magazines last year about my family, even if no one offered any answers I was published and won a year's subscription to records!!

11) What do you love? What do you hate?
I currently love Downton Abbey!
I hate spiders.

12) Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or your craft?
Feel free to get in touch with me about my crafts (custom orders avaliable) or anything else. I'm happy to chat - or even give advice on researching family history!

I look forward to meeting new people. Come and follow me on Twitter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Folksy Secret Santa

I've done a few swaps and things on Folksy the past 3 years, but never participated in a Secret Santa before.

It was hard not to take a peek until Christmas Day, but I was very good and put the beautifully- wrapped present under the tree...

I was delighted when I could finally open it and discovered a gorgeous book for my favourite recipes. My Secret Santa was Susan from Dottie Designs. Susan/Dottie makes fabulous personalised photograph albums, keepsake boxes and guest books. I knew it was a Dottie Design creation as soon as I opened it! I'd said I love books and cooking so this was a perfect gift!

I'm going to put recipes in here that are particularly special. The first will be my Nan's Christmas pudding, which my Mum now usually makes. And then probably some recipes the little W's help me to make and some of their favourite meals too.

So a huge thank you to Dottie!

I'll probably do a separate post for the gift I made as I'm not sure yet if my person wants to know who their Secret Santa was!

On other news, I just reopened my Etsy shop for about the 4th time. I'm really going to give it a go this year. My theory is that Americans have bigger houses and therefore more wall space and are possibly therefore more likely to buy my photos! I'm having lots of fun creating altered images. Just this afternoon I've created a set of London prints that I'll probably list tomorrow. Also looking forward to getting on with my new range of polymer clay items. I've got a load of plain white textured shapes that have been baked but are just waiting for colour. Littlest W is currently playing with them as I type. Hmm... better go and rescue them.